The lead sentence of an editorial in this week’s Economist includes five words not normally found in a news magazine (they are *****, *******, ***, *******, and *****) A desperate ploy for circulation? No, the magazine is merely quoting from an FCC decision on what can and can not be said over U.S. airwaves. The article, which argues for scrapping–rather than extending–FCC indecency rules, is worthwhile reading (as is a related analysis). The conclusion:
There is one strong argument against scrapping indecency regulation for television. Kids not lucky enough to have responsible parents might end up being exposed to more adult sex and profanity. But people should weigh the risk of that outcome against the harm of allowing each incoming administration to decide what everyone can and cannot watch. The current government has shown that it can easily broaden the country’s definition of what is indecent. Under pressure from Congress, the FCC has cracked down and has overruled its own precedents. What might future governments do? Technology has offered the chance to scale back censorship and America, long a champion of free speech, should seize it.